Like Editor Fern I think I have fallen for the industrial vibes at The West Mill in Derby. We featured it only last week at Sophie & Sam’s gorgeous day and I am delighted to see it again this afternoon at Clare & Tom’s stylish wedding.
S6 Photography has captured the iconic lighting, gorgeous open space and stripped back interiors perfectly, giving every couples portrait, ceremony picture and more an edgy backdrop to frame the memories.
Bringing a softer, more glamorous side to this contemporary wedding are the ladies elegant outfits. Bride Clare wears the most fabulous Charlie Brear separates which she looks utterly divine in, and if you haven’t already, you must check out her bridal up do, it’s so chic. By her side, looking just as stunning, her best girls wear sequin blush Adrianna Papell gowns which tie in beautifully with the copper decor and foil stationery.
All in all, an incredibly stylish Autumn wedding. Enjoy.
Clare the Bride: We loved the idea of an October wedding surrounded by all those autumn colours. Tom had proposed exactly a year earlier in warm autumn sunshine in Milan; we couldn’t believe our luck when we got the same weather for our wedding day.
We wanted the day to be very intimate whilst also being a giant party with all of our friends and family. We loaded the day with personal touches, great music, many laughs, a few tears and lots of fantastic food and drink. We organized to set up an après ski game that we’ve played whilst skiing in the Alps, involving a hammer and nails and quite a large tree trunk. Luckily, Andrew Rose at the West Mill agreed that this would be a great idea to accompany our longer than average drinks reception with our very own bespoke gin bar! We had sparklers outside in the courtyard in the evening, being so near to bonfire night. I know everyone says it, but we had the most incredible day, so much fun and everything was just perfect!
I knew from the beginning that I wanted a dress with long sleeves and a high neckline and I was pretty sure I wanted something quite simple but elegant. At my first appointment at The White Closet I tried on a few dresses including a really simple Charlie Brear’s Torum dress. The beautiful crepe fabric and cut of the dress was so flattering, I loved it! The girls in the White Closet spend time with me deciding on how to mix and match different separates, also designed by Charlie Brear to give the dress some individual details and different looks throughout the day. I decided on the Augustine Lace jacket with silk tulle train (that they made detachable for when I had my long veil on). The seamstress at the White Closet then added long sleeves onto the top using extra lace ordered from the designer. For the evening, I removed the lace top and ordered a blush silk sash from Charlie Brear to wear with the dress, tied in a bow at the back. It added some beautiful detail to the simple slip and didn’t get in the way of the dancing! Working in design myself, it was great to have a dress from a British designer and the way that Charlie designs separates meant that I could create the individual look that I wanted. For shoes, I saw some Rachel Simpson samples at The White Closet and loved the 1920’s details. Again, a British designer, Rachel Simpson design and hand make their shoes. I ordered a few pairs, but settled on Hermione.
Even though I hadn’t decided how to have my hair, I had seen Jannie Baltzer’s beautiful and unique headpieces, so I contacted her to see if she could make and ship it in time for the wedding from Copenhagen. She was so lovely and a week later, my bespoke headpiece arrived in a gorgeous box with the handwritten note from Jannie. My hair and makeup artists were amazing. I started to panic as I had left that bit to the end but when I went to see Alison Jenner she put my mind at rest immediately. I decided to have my hair up after my trial with Alison as she made it look so lovely. My makeup artist was Christina Lazzarotto (who actually is good friends with Alison) again she was fantastic. They were both so sweet and really calm and friendly to have around on the morning of the wedding.
Tom the Groom: I had my suit made by Michelsberg Tailoring. I’d never had a bespoke suit made before and it was a bit of a daunting prospect but they made it very easy with just a few fittings. I chose a petrol blue cloth with a faint burgundy check and a waistcoat in the same cloth. I love the final suit, which I wore with a burgundy bowtie, Liberty pocket square and dark brown Church’s shoes.
Clare the Bride: My best friend Louise and my sister Lucy looked stunning in their Adrianna Papell beaded dresses. I spent a lot of time in House of Fraser taking photos and trying on the dresses, as Louise lives in Brussels and Lucy is in Hertfordshire! I bought the girls a pair of vintage style pearl earrings as a gift, which they wore to complement the dresses.
Tom the Groom: When I first looked down the aisle in the Cotton Quarter at The West Mill, it felt perfect. The venue gave us everything we wanted – a stunning grade I listed building with loads of original features, big rooms each with their own character and quirks, and gorgeous surroundings for photo opportunities with the River Derwent and Darley Abbey Park right next door. We really loved that each part of the day happened on a different one of the 4 floors and each floor was stunning in it’s own unique way. They were really open to us doing what we wanted to make the venue personal to us, which was just what we were looking for.
Jenkinsons were brilliant and so professional on the day. We picked a menu that started with anti pasti sharing platters with artisan breads and oils, which was delicious. We had loads of great comments about the food, from the canapés to the white chocolate and Cointreau brioche bread and butter pudding and Lucy’s fantastic homemade biscotti in the evening. But the most popular was our little bespoke gin bar. We picked some lovely handcrafted gins from around the country and built a little cocktail menu complementing the gins with different tonics, herbs, botanical and fruit. The catering staff from Jenkinsons were fantastic at making these cocktails on demand for the guests.
The Wedding Car
Clare the Bride: I’ve always said that if I got married, I’d love for my Dad to drive me in his little MG Midget. I remember watching him painstakingly re conditioning it when I was little and I’ve always loved it. As it hadn’t ventured much further than the garage for quite a number of years, Dad set about getting it ready for the big day and then drove it down to Derbyshire from Lancashire the day before the wedding, with no guarantee that it would make it! Everything went to plan and one of Jon’s shots that I love is of Dad cleaning the car early on the morning of the wedding! It looked fantastic in the courtyard of The West Mill and it was a really lovely part of the day that Dad could drive me there in it!
I wanted to use some of my design skills in the styling of the day to make it more personal to Tom and I without overdoing the feel of the venue. I wanted to keep the décor quite minimal with white flowers and lots of green foliage and white candles. I kept the table centres to clear glass bottles and vases with white candles and some of the foliage in the bottles. I added some touches of copper with the foiled table guest names, table numbers, easels for the menus and copper thread on the necks of some of the bottles. I designed the invitations and stationery with touches of taupe/ blush, which was a similar colour to the bridesmaid’s dresses, but I wasn’t really trying to go for a colour scheme and having everything matching, I just wanted a simple, elegant feel. The venue spoke for itself really; it was so stunning in it’s own right.
Wendy at Wild Thyme was our florist and she understood completely what look I wanted for the flowers and we absolutely loved them! She was so knowledgeable about the different flowers that would be in season in October and advised me on how best to achieve the look I was after. I wanted my bouquet to be quite undone and organic looking with lots of texture, white flowers and lots of green foliage. I love white anemones with the deep blue centre and luckily they were in season, so these were mixed with white roses, green foliage and some rosemary, said to stand for remembrance, fidelity and luck at a wedding! For my ‘something old’ my mum has given me a piece of ribbon from her Christening gown, which I wrapped around the bouquet. I ordered some hand dyed natural silk ribbons to go around all three bouquets I wanted eucalyptus to feature in the foliage as Tom and I have both spent time living and working in Australia. Sprigs of eucalyptus were tied to the end chair of each row down the isle in the Cotton quarter, which filled the room with such an amazing smell! Wendy also created the most amazing hanging foliage and white rose canopy with was hung at the front of the ceremony for us to stand underneath and a foliage heart wreath which could be hung on the exposed brick wall during the ceremony and then placed on the front door of the mill later on. The leaded mill windows were decorated with more beautiful foliage and white flower arrangements that were laid along the sills.
We love going to gigs when we get chance so it was really important to have great live music at the wedding. In the end we couldn’t decide between two bands so we pushed the boat out and booked both. Strings Attached played an acoustic arrangement for the
ceremony including a beautiful instrumental version of Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla while I walked down the aisle. After playing during the ceremony they then set up downstairs and continued through the drinks reception. They’re a brilliant band we know from home and were perfect for the venue. They’re a little bit quirky for a string quartet, they’re a bit more modern, very cool and the vocals by Tolu Ajayi are fantastic! In the evening, The Deadbeats’ incredible set had everyone dancing around and singing like lunatics. The perfect end to the night! Everyone thought both bands were excellent.
The cake was made by the best cake maker I know… my sister Lucy, she had spent months leading up to the wedding perfecting her naked sponge cake. With four tiers, each of a different flavour, and accompanying selection of chocolate and pistachio dipped biscotti and meringues, the result was fantastic! The florist added in some olive foliage to decorate the cake and a bespoke wooden cake topper made by Pretty Neat Studios. Despite a brief heart-stopping moment when it nearly toppled over as we cut into it, it was the best wedding cake we could have wished for.
This was a really important part of the day for us and we wanted to invest in a photographer that was a talented and passionate as Jon is. As I work in the creative industry I wanted this bit to be spot on! As soon as we contacted Jon to shoot our wedding, we knew we’d made the right choice. We loved his landscape shots in the Peak district and the way that he works with light. He’s such a genuinely nice guy and so easy going, perfect to have around during such an important day and somehow manages to stealthily sneak around in the background to capture little moments! The photos of the speeches and peoples faces and reactions made us re- live it all over again! The photos were just stunning; Jon captured the day perfectly and really captured the atmosphere and feeling of the venue. When we saw the preview that he sent us in the morning after the wedding, we were quite teary – in a good way!